“You’re telling everyone to wear a mask,” Paul, who is a medical doctor, told Fauci. “If we’re not spreading the infection, isn’t it just theater? You have the vaccine and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
Fauci then accused Paul of engaging in “theater” and stated that emerging COVID-19 variants are a good reason “for a mask.”
“You’re making policy based on conjecture,” Paul said, saying that Fauci wants people to wear masks “for another couple of years.”
In recent weeks, Fauci has faced increasing criticism for making predictions about the virus that ultimately didn’t materialize while also repeatedly issuing warnings about the CCP virus spreading due to a relaxation in lockdowns.
“You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show,” Paul told Fauci. “If you already have immunity, you’re wearing a mask to give comfort to others. You’re not wearing a mask because of any science.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have been vaccinated are advised to still wear a mask.
Fauci responded that “masks are not theater” and he “totally disagree[s]” with Paul’s statement.
In January, Paul said during a Fox News interview that people who have been vaccinated should discard their masks.
“If you’ve had the disease or you’ve been vaccinated and you’re several weeks out of your second dose, throw your mask away and tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap because, once you have immunity, you don’t need to do this,” the Kentucky Republican said at the time.
This week, Fauci suggested that three-feet distancing between schoolchildren, rather than six feet, could be good enough following a study that was published last week.
The CDC stated in updated guidance on March 8 that fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear a mask or physically distance themselves from others who are also fully vaccinated or those who are unvaccinated but “are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease.”
“There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a press release.
“Taking steps towards relaxing certain measures for vaccinated persons may help improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake.”
Meiling Lee contributed to this report.